Annette Nay, PhD

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How to Motivate Learners to Read The Lesson Material
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 2000

Bruce R. McConkie states that “… each person must learn the doctrines of the gospel for himself. No one else can do it for him. Each person stands alone where gospel scholarship is concerned; each has access to the same scriptures and is entitled to the guidance of the same Holy Spirit; each must pay the price set by the Divine Providence if he is to gain the pearl of great wisdom."

Why Should the Learner Do So

  • Our leaders tell us to stop and smell the roses. What the mean is to take time to enjoy life. Another reason we need to slow down is to be able to take time to ponder the scriptures we read. It is while we ponder the scriptures that they are opened up to us.
  • Just reading the scriptures affords us the basis of our religion. Pondering allows the Lord to expand on those principles for greater knowledge of the subject, to understand why it was given, and to have a greater relationship with the Lord.
  • The Lord says that if we take the time to ponder the scriptures, that in time, He will reveal all things, even Himself to us. We do not have to be a general authority to see Christ, only reading the scriptures ourselves, pondering them and trying to live those principles.

How Can They Do it All?

  • There are so many demands on their and our time that we all find ourselves out of breath and out of time to do all that we should. We are expected to...
    • Spend time to exercise and care for our health.
    • Find a time to daily read our scriptures and take the time to ponder them. · Have meaningful prayers at least morning and night.
    • Have quality time with our spouse and also with our children.
    • We need to chauffer our children where they need to be.
    • Make sure our children get their house work, school work done and help them to be where they are supposed to be, doing what they are supposed to be doing.
    • Maintain a full or part-time job.
    • Magnify our callings that the Lord has given us.
    • Work to better our communities.
    • Take time to enjoy life.

With so many demands on our time how can we do it all? How can we help our learners take the time they need not only to understand the scriptures, but to be taught by the Spirit as they take time to ponder the scriptures. We need to help them take full advantage of the time they do have and learn how to manage it wisely. Here are some suggestions on how to do that.

Twenty Time Management Suggestions

  1. Don't procrastinate doing big jobs! Break big jobs into smaller parts and do them over the time allotted for them to be done. Read the article on Procrastination.
  2. People often feel their time keeps getting away from them and they have no control over it. One of the major problems is that they underestimate the time needed to do tasks or stops. Often they think it will only take five minutes. This is where people get behind in their schedules. Allow at least 15 minutes for even quick little jobs. There is seldom anything in this world that takes lest time. If something does take less time then you are ahead of your game plan.
  3. Get a calendar/planner with large squares so you can see the important things happening in the month all at once. You can obtain a planner especially for LDS on the internet for free. See: The Latter-day Planner. Look at the places that have a lot of things happening at the same time. See if you can move some of those things to other times where there is nothing happening. If this is not possible then look to see what can be done ahead of time to prepare for those events to help you get through the hectic times. Then do them in the slower times.
  4. You should have another section that you can write in detail what is happening each day as they are to occur in their time slots.
    • There is usually a list of things you need to do and other things that you want to do. Do not confuse the wants with needs. List the need-to-do things.
    • Order them as to importance or order they need to be done and when. If there is time, then put in things you would like to do.
    • Remember to put in times to rest, exercise, eat appropriately, and to be with family. These things are all important. The first five keep you capable to be there for your family. Too many women neglect themselves for their family, friends, and church and end up dead before they are even fifty and some other women ends up taking care of her children and husband. Take care of yourself! You are important!
  5. Plan your day the night before, during your prayers with God so He can help you see the pitfalls so you can plan better and have a better, less stressful day.
  6. People will continue to give you more things to do until you holler, "stop!" or totally breakdown health-wise, mentally, or both. Learn to say, "no." If you have your priorities straight then you will not have a problem saying, "no." See my articles: Read: Keeping your Life in Balance and Boundary Setting.
  7. Some people never really get going on any project or get their day organized and moving on track because they are paralyzed because of their perfectionism. Read this article and see what I mean. Read: Preventing Perfectionism.
  8. Your day is not etched in granite. If things come up, dump the want-to-dos and go with bare bones have-to-dos. If this is not possible then just do the most important things. If this is not possible then see if you can delegate the most important have-to-dos to someone else. Family and friends will come to your aid if you ask. Delegate!
  9. While you are talking on the phone, do something that needs to be done that you can do while you are talking.
  10. When you are going from appointment to appointment or standing in lines, take something you can do or read. Never just sit and do nothing unless it is your relax time. You can even plan the following days events.
  11. House hold jobs can be put an 3x5 cards and put in a recipe box under the days or months they are to be done. in the top right corner put how often the job should be done ... daily, weekly. monthly, etc. In the upper left corner put down how long it actually takes you do to the job right. Do not guess. Time the job! Being organized like this helps you to focused on that needs to be done. When a job gets done you put it in the done section. If you do not have time for all the dailies then put them first tomorrow. You can also put cards in to remind you to send out birthday cards or write this in your planner or on your calendar.
  12. Have all your cleaning material in a tote that you take with you from place to place so you do not have to back track to get a brush or cleaner for the job at hand.
  13. Many women are taught to scrub the dirt and grime away before moving on. Instead, let water do the work. Wet down an area or wall, then go back and clean it in a few minutes. Usually you only have to wipe not scrub. It the junk or dirt is still stuck on then wet and come back again later. Work smart not hard.
  14. Do a light cleaning of major items throughout the house cleaned up before you go to bed so you can start the day without clutter. Pick up all trash, dishes, clothes etc. If children are involved in causing the clutter, invite their help in getting it cleared up before bed.
  15. Clean as you go. This is especially true of bedrooms and cooking in the kitchen.
  16. A forty minute catnap will revitalize you and help you do you work faster and better than keep going in a tired state. Any more than forty minutes tends to make you even more tired because you are awaking yourself out of deep sleep. At that point the body requires its eight hours sleep to feel refreshed.
  17. Learn how to totally relax to give your body a rest especially when you are having a stressful day, so you can maximize the use of entire day. See my article: A Relaxation Exercise to Reduce Stress.
  18. Many people waste a lot of time in trying to find things. A good organized home or office will help you to take advantage of your time because everything will have a place and then it will only take a few minutes to put it there. This save ulcers and time when you need to find it in a hurry.
  19. Keep a running list of things you would like to do if you had time. Often when this time occurs we do not know what to do with it. So keep the list handy for those moments to take best advantage of them.
  20. Invite the Lord to be with you through all your dealing throughout the day. Have an open-ended prayer with Him and just discuss the day and what's going on. Most of all have fun with Him. Go on walks, notice the flowers, or look or shapes in the clouds and invite Him along by commenting about what you think, see, and feel at the time. In this way the Lord feels free to comment back and help you through your day. Following Him will take better advantage of the time than you will ever be able to do yourself.

We can also challenge and give opportunities to our learners to read their weekly reading assignment for the next week. Instead of spoon-feeding the scriptures to the learners.

  • Tell them that you expect them to come prepared to class to discuss their insights, favorite passages during the first part of class each week.
  • Follow this discussion with questions that prompt deeper thinking on the principles discussed.
  • Ask questions that help the learners to apply those gospel principles.
  • Use follow-up questions that cause the learners to delve even deeper into the subject being · Assign some of them in advance of the class to give reports on portions of the lesson dealing with the reading assignment. · Assign them to read the assignment to find out the answer to a particular question to be discussed by the class the beginning of class next week.

In short help the learners…

  • understand the learners understand that they need to read and ponder the scriptures for personal testimony growth, understanding gospel more deeply, and being able to have a personal relationship with the Lord.
  • understand how to take advantage of the time they have to be able to read their class assignments.
  • to have opportunities which force them to take responsibility to read their scriptures each week.

Make sure to praise those who do the assignment and share their knowledge with the class.

Challenge those who didn’t share their comments to do so next week, by saying something like…”I’m looking forward to hearing from the rest of you next week! The reading assignment is….”

Drop them a personal reminder of the class assignment by post card, or e-mail during the week.

Help your learners be excited about studying and understanding the scriptures and their assigned lessons.

Put the learners into action. Start in the classroom. Do not think, “What will I do in class today?” Instead think, “What will my learners do in class today?” Your job is not to lecture or show how much you know, but to…

  • Pull from the learners what they know about the principle.
  • Fill in the holes of their knowledge.
  • Show how the principles apply to their lives.
  • Help them to set goals to put the principle in action in their lives.
  • Be enthusiastic about your own scripture study. Share your enthusiasm with your learners. Make it contagious.
  • Always use the scriptures in your lessons.
  • Have the learners use the scriptures to answer questions in class.
  • Show learners how to use study helps to understand the scriptures.
  • Compare the scripture characters and their problems to problems we have today. Help the learners understand the feelings of the characters and see them as real people.
  • Show the learners how to use the scriptures to find answers to their daily problems.
  • Bear testimony of the importance of the scriptures and the teaching of Christ and of His gospel.


Christ-Centered Counseling for A Better Life (1999). Annette Nay, MS. Silverdale, WA: Discovery Publishing.

Teaching No Greater Call (1999). Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This excellent book is available at the Church Distribution Center in Salt Lake City, Utah


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